I’ll be getting back to the On Spec series shortly, folks, but I keep finding other things to cover… Stay tuned for two awesome new releases coming soon…
As I learned, Voices is made up of former members following the break-up of Akercocke. They self-describe as making “extreme and challenging music.” They’ve succeeded! They differentiate themselves from their Akercocke efforts too:
Vocalist Peter Benjamin has said that Voices is philosophically distinguished from Akercocke. “Akercocke was more focused on the imagery and ideals of Satanism. For us, it would be boring to go where Akercocke and many other black metal bands have been. We believe that it’s time to do something different, so we have taken on our urban surroundings and all that happens within as our influence.” Sam Loynes confirmed Benjamin’s perspective, noting that “The themes in Voices do not relate to any religious ideology. We are interested in trying to decipher the world that surrounds us. The music forms an impression of our misgivings relating to the distaste we have for this world. Yet, it is still a mystery to us.”
That said, London one hell of an homage to the ancient city, especially the dark underside (of course). The music here is heavy and controlled, punishing but also gentle, done with an understanding and care that a lot of metal bands and albums miss in their rush to be the most aggressive and metal in the land.
Unsettling to a track, the music is all over the place, at times full-on screaming and growling metal, at others an almost punk thrashing and wailing, still others a gothic atmospheric drone that tempers the mélange, and even acoustic guitar passages. But as erratic as it sometimes seems, there’s something welcoming about it, too. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but even the heaviest bits here didn’t assault me in the same way others do. It felt like there was an understanding between me and the band, and we were all in this together. Does that even make sense?
Of course, I played it through the good headphones and was well-enough blown away by the musicianship, the attention to detail and the enveloping sound and emotion that went into each track here. One review I read (as I listened) pointed out how awesome it is to walk around London itself while listening to this album on headphones. I can only imagine, especially at night! In my life I have spent a grand total of three days in London proper, as a tourist, and even for that small amount of time I can imagine how the shadows falling over all those old buildings and passageways would make for an awesome listening/walking experience!
I’m certainly no expert when it comes to this kind of music, but I would say that this record is a fully-realized masterpiece of glorious, satisfying, haunting and even spiritual music. It is equally feral and refined, absolutely worth your listening time.